Scientist, Pop Culture Icon Stephen Hawking Mourned at Cambridge Funeral
(VOA): Crowds lined the streets of Cambridge, England, on Saturday for the funeral of one of the world's most famous scientists: physicist Stephen Hawking, who died March 14 at age 76.
The scientist, confined for decades to a wheelchair and voice synthesizer because of the disease ALS, was known for his charisma, curiosity, and a crackling sense of humor. His science books and television cameos made him a pop-culture icon.
Hawking described his research as seeking “a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
Hawking's funeral was held Saturday at the Cambridge University church known as Great St. Mary's. As the funeral procession arrived, bells rang 76 times — once for each year of Hawking's life.
In addition to Hawking's family members, caretakers, former students, and admirers, the ceremony was attended by a number of famous faces. Among them was actor Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking in an award-winning film biography of his life called The Theory of Everything, released in 2014.
Redmayne's co-star, Felicity Jones, model Lily Cole, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May, and Britain's Astronomer Royal, the Lord Rees of Ludlow (Martin Rees), were also there.
The eulogy, read by professor Faye Dowker, praised Hawking as someone “revered for his devotion as a scholar to the pursuit of knowledge.”
Hawking will be given one last high honor: his remains are to be interred in Westminster Abbey among some of Britain's most legendary intellectuals. Hawking will take his place next to 17th-century mathematical scientist Isaac Newton and near 19th-century evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin.
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Published Date: Sunday, April 1st, 2018 | 12:45 PM